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Longevity and Lifetime Labor Input: Data and Implications

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  • Moshe Hazan

Abstract

Recent growth theories have utilized the Ben-Porath (1967) mechanism according to which prolonging the period in which individuals may receive returns on their investment spurs investment in human capital and cause growth. An important, though sometime implicit implication of these models is that total labor input over the lifetime increases as longevity does. We propose a thought experiment to empirically evaluate the relevancy of this mechanism to the transition from “stagnation” to “growth” of the nowadays developed economies. Specifically, we estimate the expected total working hours over the lifetime of nine consecutive cohorts of American men born between 1840 and 1920. Our results show that despite a gain of almost 9 years in the expectations of life at age 20, the expected total working hours over the lifetime have declined from more than 117,000 hours to less than 90,000 between the oldest and the youngest cohorts. We conclude that the Ben-Porath mechanism have had a lesser effect than previously thought on the accumulation of human capital during the growth process.

Suggested Citation

  • Moshe Hazan, 2006. "Longevity and Lifetime Labor Input: Data and Implications," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_065, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  • Handle: RePEc:deg:conpap:c011_065
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Vandenbroucke, Guillaume, 2009. "Trends in hours: The U.S. from 1900 to 1950," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 237-249, January.
    2. David de la Croix & Omar Licandro, 2013. "The Child is Father Of the Man: Implications for the Demographic Transition," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(567), pages 236-261, March.
    3. Matteo Cervellati & Uwe Sunde, 2013. "Life Expectancy, Schooling, and Lifetime Labor Supply: Theory and Evidence Revisited," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(5), pages 2055-2086, September.
    4. Matteo Cervellati & Uwe Sunde, 2015. "The Economic and Demographic Transition, Mortality, and Comparative Development," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 189-225, July.
    5. Moshe Hazan, 2009. "Longevity and Lifetime Labor Supply: Evidence and Implications," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(6), pages 1829-1863, November.
    6. Michael Bar & Oksana Leukhina, 2010. "The role of mortality in the transmission of knowledge," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 291-321, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    longevity; human capital; hours-worked;

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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